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SAEED ABEDINI

saeed-abedini-with-SON

COUNTRY: Iran

IMPRISONED SINCE: 2012

CHARGE: "Endangering national security"

CASE: An American citizen sentenced to 8 years in prison for house church leadership and Muslim evangelism

  

RECENT NEWS 

 

16 January 2016: Saeed Abedini Released

 

Pastor Saeed Abedini has been released from prison in Iran after more than three years in captivity for his Christian faith.

Abedini, a U.S. citizen who has attracted high-profile advocates for his release including President Obama and members of Congress, was released on Saturday along with three other detained Americans: Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian; former Marine Amir Hekmati, and Nosratollah Khosavi-Roodsari, The Washington  Post reported. Senior U.S. administration officials also confirmed the release of the four prisoners,according to CNN.

Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, who has tirelessly campaigned for his release since his imprisonment, said in a statement, "This has been an answer to prayer. This is a critical time for me and my family. We look forward to Saeed's return and want to thank the millions of people who have stood with us in prayer during this most difficult time."

Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in California, who has publicly advocated and prayed for Abedini's release,posted on his Facebook Saturday: "American Pastor, Saeed Abedini along with the 3 other American prisoners have been released from Prison in Iran! This is an answered prayer! For years the hashtag has been #SaveSaeed Now, we can update it to #GodsavedSaeed"

The four Americans were released by Iran in exchange for at least six people imprisoned by the United States and also ahead of the nearing implementation of the July 2015 historic nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had previously said that Abedini would not be released until 19 Iranian prisoners held in the U.S. are granted their freedom.

American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), the legal group representing Abedini's wife and family, noted that they first heard news that Saeed was released from his prison cell to Iran's Central Intelligence agency late Friday night. It was not until Saturday morning that they were able to confirm that the pastor was really freed.

"This is a major victory. We are incredibly grateful to the more than 1.1 million people who have joined us in fighting across the globe for Pastor Saeed's freedom," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of ACLJ, in a statement.

"We're delighted this day has finally arrived," Sekulow continued. "We have worked and prayed that this day would finally arrive. And now, Pastor Saeed can return home."

Pastor Saeed Abedini of Boise, Idaho, had served over three years of an eight year sentence in Iran for the supposed crime of endangering national security, but in reality it was because of his Christian faith. Abedini is a Muslim convert to Christianity and was in Iran working on building an orphanage when he was suddenly arrested. He had endured physical, emotional and psychological abuse during his imprisonment, according to his family, but resolutely stated that he would not renounce his Christian faith to escape punishment.

Naghmeh Abedini often shared that their two young children, aged 9 and 5, have missed their father terribly and it was difficult as a mother to endure her children's pain. With news that Saeed has indeed been released, the family will finally be reunited after years apart.

"We are grateful for the release of Pastor Saeed. The prayers of the Body of Christ all over the world have been answered," reflected Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "This day of celebration should remind us to pray and work all the more for the multitudes still persecuted for their faith all over the world, including in Iran. We hope and long for the day when Iran, and nations like it, are free from those who wish to enslave the conscience at the point of a sword."

 

SOURCE: www.christianpost.com/news/saeed-abedini-released-iran-prison-christian-persecution-155140/


2 June 2015: Saeed's wife urges European leaders to raise the case of Saeed

 

Naghmeh, the wife of U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini, recently traveled to Europe and urged officials there, including at the European Parliament, to raise the case of her husband, who has been in a jail in Iran for his Christian faith. Most officials promptly called for Saeed's release.

During her trip, Naghmeh first went to the German Parliament, where she addressed the Federal Human Rights Committee and met with numerous lawmakers committed to advocating for religious freedom, according to theAmerican Center for Law and Justice.

Naghmeh then met with leaders from Germany's two leading parties, the Protestant Committee of the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union, ACLJ said Saturday. The two parties issued a joint press release calling for Pastor Saeed's release.

Naghmeh also spoke to Volker Kauder, Chair of Christian Democratic Union, who is second in authority under German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The pastor's wife then met with officials at the German Foreign Ministry, including the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, Christoph Strässer.

"I call upon Iran to quash Pastor Abedini's sentence – and the sentences of all those imprisoned merely on account of their religious belief – without delay," the commissioner said in a statement following the meeting. "Until he is released, I appeal to all those responsible in Iran to grant him urgently needed medical treatments, including outside the prison."

Naghmeh also traveled to Strasbourg, France, to speak to representatives at the European Parliament, including the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. They collectively promised to champion her husband's case within the European Parliament and internationally.

ACLJ's Tiffany Barrans traveled with Saeed's wife.

Naghmeh's meeting with government officials from around Europe were arranged by the ACLJ in colaboration with a German rights group, Internationale Gesellschaft für Menschenrechte.

 "This opportunity was invaluable to raise the plight of Pastor Saeed and the Christian community that suffers in Iran," Barrans said.

Saeed's family in Idaho celebrated their son Jacob's seventh birthday in March – without the dad for the third straight year.

Saeed has sustained prolonged internal injuries due to beatings in the prison. He was recently "shaken" as six of his fellow prisoners were executed around him.

Saeed grew up in Iran before converting to Christianity at the age of 20. He later traveled with his family back and forth between Iran and the U.S. to meet other members of his family and for Christian work.

During one such trip in 2009, Saeed was detained by Iranian officials and interrogated for his conversion. While he was released with a warning against engaging in underground church activities, he was once again arrested in 2012 while working on a non-sectarian orphanage project.

Saeed was sentenced for endangering "national security," but the punishment has clearly more to do with Saeed's Christian faith.

"Continued international pressure has helped free persecuted Christians before and we pray that it will again," ACLJ said. Naghmeh will testify before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Tuesday, urging Congress to use its power to ensure Pastor Saeed and the other American hostages are brought home before any finalized nuclear deal.

SOURCE:  Christian Post:  http://www.christianpost.com/news/imprisoned-pastor-saeed-abedinis-wife-urges-officials-in-europe-to-raise-his-case-with-iran-139780/#csRedFqCUVtTGps7.99

 


 

9 March 2015:  Saeed 'shaken' as six fellow prisoners are executed

00naghmehabediniU.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has now been in an Iranian jail for his Christian faith for nearly two-and-a-half years, is "shaken" as six of his fellow prisoners were executed around him this week, his wife, Naghmeh, says.

"Saeed was quite shaken as he had to witness 6 fellow prisoners being beaten and taken to be executed (hanged) that day," Naghmeh was quoted as saying in a report by American Center for Law and Justice.

"It was a hard and dark day having witnessed that and seeing life being taken. The prison visit was also very hard as the families of those who were executed were crying and wailing," she added.

Naghmeh learned about this after Pastor Saeed's family members in Iran were able to have a short visit with him at the prison.

"It was also an emotional visitation as it is getting closer to Jacob's 7th birthday. Last time Saeed saw Jacob he was 4 years old," she said, urging Christians to continue to pray for her husband "to have the strength to endure in that harsh prison and that Jesus would continue to meet him there and give him hope."

"Please pray that this will be the year that Saeed is released," she said.

Pastor Saeed remains in an incredibly dangerous situation, ACLJ says, explaining that summary executions, inmate violence and beatings are commonplace.  Saeed has also sustained prolonged internal injuries due to beatings in the prison.

"The Obama Administration must do all within its power to bring this wrongfully imprisoned U.S. citizen home to his family in America," ACLJ says.

Obama raised the issue of the pastor's detention during his first phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in September 2013, but authorities in Iran have not responded.

Saeed grew up in Iran before converting to Christianity at the age of 20. He later traveled with his family back and forth between Iran and the U.S. to meet other members of his family and for Christian work.

During one such trip in 2009, Saeed was detained by Iranian officials and interrogated for his conversion. While he was released with a warning against engaging in underground church activities, he was once again arrested in 2012 while working on a non-sectarian orphanage project.

Saeed was sentenced for endangering "national security," but the ACLJ believes the punishment has more to do with Saeed's Christian faith.

 

SOURCE: Christian Post

http://www.christianpost.com/news/pastor-saeed-shaken-as-iranian-authorities-execute-his-six-fellow-prisoners-135320/ 

 

 

 


27 January 2015:  Saeed Abedeni Reports Increasing Pain in Iranian Prison

On the same day that Pastor Saeed's wife and young children were able to meet with President Obama in Pastor Saeed's hometown here in the U.S., a member of his family in Iran was able to visit Pastor Saeed in prison—Saeed's first visitor in more than a month.

Pastor Saeed's stomach pain—lingering injuries from prison beatings—remains a concern. Pastor Saeed expressed increased amounts of pain. He has still not received the critical medical attention he needs in a private hospital. He needs surgery.

But most of all, he needs to be brought home.

While his family in Iran is grateful to have the opportunity to once again resume regular visits, it is difficult to see Pastor Saeed continue to suffer.

Despite his injuries, Pastor Saeed continues to remain upbeat and hopeful, asking for news of his wife and kids. Saeed's family member was also able to share with him encouraging stories of people praying and supporting him all over the world.

I am sure it will be an encouragement to him that the president of the United States took the time to meet with his family. We don't know if Pastor Saeed has yet heard the news, but it is being reported in the Persian media. We hope to have more updates next week as to Pastor Saeed's condition and perhaps his reaction to the meeting between President Obama and his family.

This week represents a critical step toward his freedom. Now we will continue to press forward and work with the Obama Administration to bring this loving husband and father—this tormented U.S. citizen—home to America.

 

Source: Charismanews

http://www.charismanews.com/world/48038-saeed-abedeni-reports-increasing-pain-in-iranian-prison

 


10 September 2014: Pastor Saeed Abedini:  "Every second of survival a miracle"

In an interview with The Global Dispatch Naghmeh Abedini  told reporters that she is battling to see the release of her husband, Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been jailed in Iran for his religious beliefs for over one year.

During previous interviews with The Global Dispatch Naghmeh detailed his arrest, torture and prayer vigils to support her husband.   Now Naghmeh fears for the worst after Saeed’s transfer to a different and even more dangerous prison. 

“We talk about Evin Prison being a horrible prison, but at least Saeed was with fellow political prisoners, lawyers, doctors, human rights advocates in Evin, but in this new prison put him with murderers, who are on death row, rapists….Saeed is living  with those people the guards are even afraid of.Every secondhe’s in that prison is a miracle that he’s alive.”

Saeed is “skinnier” and not able to get the medicine he needs to recover from previous beatings, she explained.  Naghmeh also shared shocking details of the “lion’s den” and how Iran has violated their own laws by puttinga political prisoner in this prison.  Her hope, she says, is that the negotiations with Iran over the nuclear weapons program will begin with the conditional release of Saeed.

Naghmeh says she knows it may be a long battle and even mentions seeking help from Pope Francis.

 

Source: The Global Dispatch

http://www.theglobaldispatch.com/naghmeh-abedini-interview-gives-update-on-pastor-saeed-abedini-the-dangers-of-the-new-prison-and-help-from-pope-francis-76075/

 


15 August 2014: Pastor Abedini Facing ISIS Death Threats in Prison

U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini is reportedly receiving death threats from ISIS jihadists at the Iranian prison where he is being held.

The militants have said that they will kill him because of his Christian faith, the American Center for Law and Justice reported in a press release. Abedini, who is being held at Rajai Shahr prison, spoke of the death threats with family members earlier this week.

While the ISIS militants are apparently being held in a separate section of the prison ward, they have managed on several occasions to make their way to the pastor's section on their way back from the prison yard, forcing Abedini to hide.

Abedini is serving an eight year sentence in Iran. The ACLJ, which represents Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, and their two young children in the U.S., has said that the pastor is being punished for his Christian faith.

The ISIS militants, have taken significant territory in Iraq and Syria, waging a war on the central governments and driving out hundreds of thousands of Christians, threatening them with death and violent attacks.

"The ISIS threats against pastor Saeed are extremely dangerous. ISIS is a brutally violent offshoot of al Qaeda in Iraq, proving themselves far more violent than even al Qaeda itself. ISIS is terrorizing and massacring Christians throughout Iraq and Syria," the law group stated.

"Killing pastor Saeed within Iran, which has publicly opposed ISIS, would provide a monumental victory for these murderous terrorists."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has spoken out for Abedini's release in his remarks in July for the State Department's 2013 Report on International Religious Freedom.

While the ACLJ has said that it is thankful for the words, it has urged both Kerry and President Barack Obama to take "immediate action" to ensure that Abedini is "protected and brought safely home without delay."

The law group called on Iran to release the pastor and allow him to return home to his wife and children in the U.S.

"Sept. 26 will mark two years since 34-year-old pastor Saeed was imprisoned," the ACLJ noted. "On that day, thousands across the globe will participate in worldwide prayer vigils in hundreds of cities.

Further information about the prayer vigils and the participating cities is available on the Be Heard Project website.

Abedini's children, 7-year-old Rebekkah and 6-year-old Jacob, also posted an emotional video earlier in August pleading for Obama to bring their father home.

 

"Why does our daddy need to be in prison for loving Jesus," Rebekkah asks in the video.

 


 20 May 2014PASTOR SAEED RETURNS FROM HOSPITAL TO PRISON

After spending two months in an Iranian hospital, imprisoned Pastor Saeed Abedini has been removed from the hospital and taken back to Rajai Shahr Prison.

According to a news release by Jordan Sekulow for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), the transfer came without any advance notice and family members in Iran confirmed that he was severely beaten at the hospital and then forcibly returned to prison.

The reason for the transfer is unclear and according to family members, one of the guards who was involved in the transfer mentioned the Iranian nuclear talks as a possible motive.

"This is an extremely disappointing development - one that breaks my heart," said Naghmeh Abedini, Pastor Saeed's wife.

She added, "Our family is deeply saddened and we continue to pray for Saeed - for his safety and his release. We are very grateful that so many people around the world continue to pray for Saeed."

According to the news release, when Abedini was transferred to the hospital in March, he was initially shackled by guards who lashed out violently against him. He was also denied medical treatment at that time and family members were prohibited from seeing him.

Since then and in the weeks that followed, Abedini's situation at the hospital improved. Family members were permitted to visit with him frequently and he was provided with nutritional meals.

Abedini, a U.S. citizen, turned 34 on May 7 and his return to prison comes as efforts continue in this country and abroad to secure his release.

 

SOURCE: Assist News

http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2014/s14050077.htm 

  


23 April 2014: PASTOR SAEED WRITES EASTER MESSAGE FROM PRISON

The following letter was written by Pastor Saeed Abedini from his hospital room:

Crucifying the resurrected “self” with Christ and resurrecting our dead faith with Christ

Happy Resurrection Day.

On the Eve of Good Friday and Easter I was praying from my hospital room for my fellow Christians in the world.  What the Holy Spirit revealed to me in prayer was that there are many dead faiths in the midst of Christians today. That Christians all over the world are not able to fully reach their spiritual potential that has been given to them as a gift by God so that in reaching that potential, the curtain can be removed and the Glory of God would be revealed.

Some times we want to experience the Glory and resurrection with Jesus without experiencing death with Him.  We do not realize that unless we pass through the path of death with Christ, we are not able to experience resurrection with Christ.

We want to have a good and successful marriage, career, education and family life (which is also God’s desire and plan for our life). But we forget that in order to experience the Resurrection and Glory of Christ we first have to experience death with Christ and to die to ourselves and selfish desires.

Jesus said to His Disciples:  “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." (Matthew 16:24)

This means that we should not do things that we like to do (that God does not want us to do) and to do things that we do not like to do (but God wants us to do) so that He may be glorified.

So in addition to spending our days and night in doing the works of faith as described above, we should also transform our dead faiths into living and active faiths through the resurrection of Christ which is an active and constructive love that is effective.

In conclusion, let us resurrect our dead faiths to living faiths by first dying to our selfish “resurrected” self and experiencing the cross of Jesus. Then we are able to experience the Glorious resurrection with Christ.

A Glorious life with Christ starts only after a painful death (to self) with Christ.

We will start with Christ.

Pastor Saeed Abedini
Prisoner in the darkness in Iran, but free for the Kingdom and Light

 

SOURCE: 

http://aclj.org/iran/american-pastor-saeed-writes-easter-message-as-a-prisoner-in-the-darkness-of-iran

 


14 March 2014: IRAN REMOVE SHACKLES FROM PASTOR SAEED  

Iran now claims that the violent treatment of imprisoned American Pastor Saeed Abedini- who was shackled and ordered to return to his prison cell before receiving the critical medical treatment he needs - was a "mistake" and should not have occurred.

According to a news release from The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which is working to secure Abedini's release, this new development comes one day after the ACLJ called attention to Abedini's worsening plight.

Abedini was promised surgery for injuries he suffered from prison beatings - only to have the Iranian government deny the surgery, put him in shackles and threaten to return him to his prison cell without medical treatment.

One of Abedini's family members went to Rajai Shahr Prison to find out why he was denied medical care. He was told by prison officials that the whole ordeal was a "mistake," and that the warden called the hospital and ordered Abedini be unchained and allowed to visit the family member.

The ACLJ said a short visit was allowed with Abedini at the hospital. He was not in shackles at the time, but had not received any medical treatment.

"We know that the voices and prayers of the worldwide community truly make a difference," said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ, which represents Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, and their two young children who live in the U.S.

Speaking in the news release Sekulow said, "We will continue to put pressure on Iran to provide the vital medical treatment that Pastor Saeed so desperately needs. It's extremely disturbing that the Iranian government continues to play games with the life of this U.S. citizen - who has been imprisoned in Iran for a year and a half now simply because of his Christian faith. We are continuing to fight for Pastor Saeed's freedom. Right now, a legal team from both our U.S. and international offices is meeting with world leaders at the United Nations office in Geneva."

Sekulow continued, "The start of the Iranian new year on March 21st is often a time when the Iranian government offers clemency to prisoners of conscience. Iran has a very visible window of opportunity in the week ahead - to act on earlier comments from Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif who told the media that clemency for Pastor Saeed could be possible. It's time for Iran to act and to free Pastor Saeed now, so he can get the medical attention he needs and return to his family."

Abedini, 33, is serving an eight year prison sentence because of his Christian faith. He has been incarcerated for more than a year.

SOURCE: ASSIST News

www.assistnews.net

 


13 March 2014: PASTOR SAEED TAKEN TO HOSPITAL BUT SHACKLED 

American Pastor Saeed Abedini's case has taken a turn for the worse.

According to a story by Jordan Sekulow for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), Abedini has been shackled and refused medical treatment at a hospital, as Iranian guards forcibly ban visitors.

A little over a week ago, Abedini, a U.S. citizen, was moved from Rajai Shahr Prison to a private hospital in Iran. He was told he would receive further tests on his deteriorating medical condition and undergo surgery to address chronic pain in his stomach area - the result of numerous prison beatings.

For the past week and a half, he has undergone various tests and received much needed nourishment.

The ACLJ said, "This had been a very positive development and much needed reprieve for Pastor Saeed."

However, that has all changed. Iranian guards "lashed out violently" against Abedini and an elderly relative who had visited him in the hospital. Abedini was pinned down and shackled.  The relative was treated roughly and thrown out of the hospital.

The guards stated that they had a court order banning visitors and instructing that he be shacked at all times.

The ACLJ said hospital doctors also told Abedini he must leave the hospital and return to prison. They are refusing to provide him with anything more than pain medication and are not allowing him surgery - the only treatment that will help. They have also denied him test results.

The timing of both of these moves is very suspect, the ACLJ said.

In what appears to be a move to put Iran in a favorable light, Abedini was moved to the hospital, something his Iranian family has been actively seeking for months. 

This coincided with the arrival of the High Representative of the European Union, Catherine Ashton in Iran. However, as soon as she left Iran, Abedini was told that he would be moved back to prison without receiving any real treatment.

The EU has been raising Abedini's situation for a while, and this move would allow Iranian officials to report that he was receiving medical treatment if his case was brought up during the EU's visi t to Iran.

The ACLJ commented, "Iran must not be allowed to continue to abuse and mistreat Pastor Saeed out of the public spotlight. The Iranian government is wrongfully imprisoning him and denying him needed medical care because he is a Christian. Each day apart from his family and away from the care of physicians is another human rights abuse."

While Iran's actions seem to undercut the sincerity of Iran's leaders in promising the world change in Iran, the ACLJ said there is still an opportunity for President Rouhani and Iran's Supreme Leader to act.

"March 21st is the Iranian new year, a time when clemency is often granted to prisoners of conscience," the ACLJ said. "If Iran wants the world to see it in a new light, now is the time to grant clemency for Pastor Saeed. Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif said clemency could be possible. Now would be the time."

For more information visit www.aclj.org


24 JANUARY 2014: PASTOR SAEED TRANSFERED 

U.S. pastor Saeed Abedini has been transferred from the murderer ward to the political prisoner ward in Rajai Shahr Prison in Iran, but his health problems are continuing to worsen and he needs surgery.

"Make no mistake. Pastor Saeed is still in the deadliest prison in Iran facing deteriorating medical conditions. This is the first positive step, however slight, since his transfer from Evin Prison last November," the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Abedini's wife, Naghmeh and their two children in the U.S.,revealedon Wednesday.

This was also the first time Abedini's Iranian family has been allowed to visit him in six weeks. And although he will now receive slightly better treatment, including better meals, his family has said that his numerous medical problems continue to worsen, and he is still throwing up and suffering from pain in his abdomen.

"Since being moved within the prison, Pastor Saeed was able to see a prison doctor who was very concerned about his internal injuries. The prison doctor recommended that he receive surgery and provided him medication to ease his pain," ACLJ described. There is still no word from the Iranian officials on whether he will be allowed such a surgery.

The U.S. citizen has been held captive in Iran since July 2012, when he was arrested while working on an orphanage project. He has been accused by Iranian officials of endangering national security and was later sentenced to eight years in prison, though the ACLJ and Naghmeh Abedini have argued that the punishment has more to do with his Christian faith.

"There is a glimmer of comfort to know that my husband has been transferred out of the murderers' ward, but my heart aches to know the pain he continually suffers and that his injuries necessitate surgery. As a family, it is difficult to be so far away and unable to comfort him in his pain," Naghmeh Abedini said in a statement about the latest development.

"Though we are encouraged by the transfer to the new ward, such a small step is far from an unconditional release where Saeed is reunited with our family. While this development is welcomed, we desperately await his return home."


The wife of the U.S. pastor has been actively campaigning for his release. She also planned to risk arrest at a prayer event by the White House to raise awareness for her husband's case but the ACLJ revealed on Tuesday thatshe is reconsidering her participation.

The ACLJ continues to advocate on the pastor's behalf and is urging people around the world to signa petition that will encourage the U.S. government to impose harsh sanctions on Iran until it releases Abedini. The law group says that such sanctions might be the best available bargaining point for the pastor's freedom. Over 66,000 people have signed the petition to date, while another 202,321 others have written letters to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

 

SOURCE: Christian Post

http://www.christianpost.com/news/pastor-saeed-abedini-transferred-out-of-murderer-ward-but-health-problems-worsen-113190/ 


 13 DECEMBER 2013: 444 Days in prison  

 

International Christian Concern (ICC) continues to call for the release of American-Iranian Saeed Abedini. December 12th marks 444 days since Saeed was taken to an Iranian prison, simply because of his Christian faith. Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) co-chaired a joint subcommittee hearing on Iran's continued persecution of Pastor Saeed. The dangers that Saeed faces in the brutal prison are real and it is crucial that the American people and the American government remain fully engaged to see this father and husband brought home to his family.

Representative Smith said in his opening remarks, "Saeed's case must be front and center in the next series of diplomatic talks with Iran. Time is running out. Naghmeh, Jacob, and Rebekka need their husband and father home. Now!"

It was 444 days ago that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard took Saeed from house arrest, where he had been detained since July 28, 2012. On September 26th, he was transferred to Tehran's Evin prison. As his wife, Naghmeh, stated in her testimony to the hearing, "To learn he had been put in Evin Prison brought flashbacks of family members and friends who had been executed, raped, and tortured in Evin." On January 27th, after a sham trial, Saeed was sentenced to eight years in prison. What was the reason for his imprisonment? He was arrested for "peaceful gatherings of Christians, which the regime views as an act of war," Naghmeh told the hearing today.

Since his arrest, Pastor Saeed's case has received significant attention from the national and international media, by members of Congress, and even, on occasion, from Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama. While Pastor Saeed has been in prison in Iran, the level of diplomatic engagement between the two countries is at its highest point since the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979, when 52 Americans were also held for 444 days.

Despite face-to-face negotiations with Iran at the highest level, Pastor Saeed remains in prison. Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC) voiced a view held by many of the members of the panel, "If they cannot release individuals and others held without due process then how are we to trust them on greater issues?" The view was echoed by Representative Smith, "How can we trust a signature on a piece of paper when they treat an American citizen in such a brutal way?"

 

SOURCE: International Christian Concern

www.persecution.org 


08 NOVEMBER 2013: Life or Death for Saeed  

 

Pastor Saeed Abedini, a Christian prisoner in Evin prison, was transferred to Rajaei-shahr prison for unknown reasons.

According to Mohabat News, the security authorities in Evin prison have transferred Pastor Saeed Abedini to Rajaei-Shahr prison in Karaj.

As the report published by Human Rights activists in Iran indicates, Evin prison authorities transferred him from ward 350 to Rajaei-Shahr prison with no prior notice.

This incident seems to be related to the protest of an American Pastor outside Evin prison last month. Apparently, Evin prison authorities have decided to transfer political prisoners and prisoners of conscience to other prisons in order to reduce focus on the notorious Evin prison, which is unpopular internationally.

Last month, on October 21, an American pastor, Eddie Romero, protested against the imprisonment of four Christian converts namely, Farshid Fathi, Saeed Abedini, Mostafa Bordbar, and Alireza Seyyedian. He also called on the Iranian government to release Mohammad-Ali Dadkhah, a lawyer and Human Rights activist.

Rajaei-Shahr prison is located on the outskirts of Karaj, west of Tehran. The prison is known as one of the most dangerous prisons of Iran, and holds a large number of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. There have been a considerable number of reports about torture, rape, murder and other cases of Human Rights violations in the prison.

Murderers, drug dealers, kidnappers and armed robbers form the majority of prisoners in Rajaei-Shahr. This prison also includes six sections for what is called "edification" where prisoners are taught Quran lessons on a daily basis.

Pastor Abedini who holds Iranian-American dual-citizenship, was arrested in 2012. Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced him to eight years in prison for establishing a network of house-churches intended to undermine national security. As he appealed the decision, his case was sent to Branch 36 of the High Court of Tehran Province and the appeals court upheld his sentence.

In the past few years, western countries and International Human Rights organizations have accused Iran of violating religious rights for the high number of arrests and the harassment of religious minorities in the country.

In this regard, Ahmad Shaheed, the UN's Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, said, those who change their religion face a serious risk of oppression in Iran.

 

SOURCE: Mohabat News

http://www.mohabatnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7720:pastor-saeed-abedini-transferred-to-rajaei-shahr-prison-for-unknown-reasons&catid=36:iranian-christians&Itemid=279


14 AUGUST 2013: Pastor Saeed in Great Pain

 

American Pastor Saeed Abedini's health has taken a turn for the worse and he is fainting from severe amounts of pain, according to his family in Iran who were able to visit him in Evin Prison, where he is serving an eight year sentence.

"Unfortunately, we have learned that Pastor Saeed's internal injuries are causing him increased pain," the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which represents Abedini's wife and two children in the U.S., revealed in a post on Monday.

"Pastor Saeed has been suffering from internal bleeding – the results of intense beatings he has sustained in prison for his faith."

Earlier this summer, Abedini's health was thought to be improving, with his family noting that he was in "good spirits" following his release from solitary confinement, and that some of his medical symptoms had waned.

Arrested in 2012 and later sentenced to eight years in prison supposedly for endangering national security, the Christian pastor has been beaten in jail and has been pressured to renounce his faith in Christ, though he has refused to do so. An international campaign backed by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide has called for his release, though so far Iranian authorities have refused to grant such a request.

Officials have also denied Abedini important medical care for the severe pain he has been feeling in his abdomen, causing the ACLJ to accuse the Islamic republic of "inhuman treatment of prisoners of conscience."

The pastor was finally allowed treatment at a local hospital where he was prescribed medication, but it has not been enough, and his pain has increased, the Christian law group said, revealing that on one occasion he had even fainted from "immense anguish."

"This is a disturbing turn of events. It serves as a renewed reminder of the dangerous conditions Pastor Saeed faces in one of the world's worst prisons," the ACLJ continued, and urged official to provide Abedini the important medical care that he need.

The law group pointed out that the pastor is being kept in prison because of his Christian faith, and noted that his is one of many persecution stories currently taking place in the Islamic Republic.

In a recent interview, Naghmeh Abedini, the pastor's wife, spoke out about the torture and beatings her husband has been subjected to while in prison, and announced an upcoming prayer vigil in September to mark the anniversary of his imprisonment.

"He has been dealing with a lot of pain and internal bleeding since he was taken to solitary confinement which has been horrific in itself…two times, attempts to break him and have him recant his faith. He's gone through a lot the last year," Naghmeh Abedini said.

 

SOURCE: Christian Post

http://www.christianpost.com/news/pastor-saeed-abedini-fainting-from-pain-in-disturbing-turn-of-events-102161/cpf

 


 25 JULY 2013: 300 Days in Prison for Saeed Abedini

 

23 July 2013 marked the 300th day of American Pastor Saeed Abedini’s illegal imprisonment in Iran – 300 days away from his wife and kids, 300 days of torment for his Christian faith, 300 days and counting. 

Nearly a year ago, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard raided the home of Pastor Saeed’s parents in Tehran and imprisoned him solely on the basis of his faith. On account of that same faith, he faced a bogus trial and was convicted and sentenced to a lengthy prison term in Iran’s brutal Evin Prison. He has been subjected to  beatings and harassment  which have caused internal injuries necessitating medical treatment.

Suffering from an internal injury in his stomach, Pastor Saeed has been in need of medical attention for quite some time. On July 20, 2013, he was taken to a private hospital in Tehran for treatment and, for the first time, he was examined by a physician and prescribed  medication for  injuries he sustained from the beatings he endured by prison guards.

On two past occasions, the 33-year-old Pastor Saeed has been taken to the local hospital only to be sent home without examination of or treatment for his injuries. This time, authorities proved that they have heard the international outcry for medical attention.

Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh Abedini, responded to this positive step:

Thank you to all of the individuals who have prayed, written letters, signed petitions, called government officials, run benefit races, tweeted, and shared Saeed’s story. Thank you to all the government officials from around the world who have stood for my husband.  Iran has listened to your pleas.  While I am encouraged that Saeed is finally getting medical care, the fight is not yet over.  It has been a difficult 300 days – 300 days of torment simply because Saeed loves Jesus Christ.  I am hopeful Iran will do the just and honorable thing and release Saeed. 

We are pleased that Iranian authorities have taken this important step to see that Pastor Saeed is no longer denied access to necessary medical treatment. It is our hope that the Iranian regime will take additional steps to correct their wrongdoings by giving his case a fair and impartial review in the court of appeals, where his case is currently pending.  A fair and impartial review must result in a decision that continuing to hold Pastor Saeed is a grave violation of Iran’s Constitution and its international obligations.

While Pastor Saeed has received medical treatment, he continues to pay a price for his Christian faith daily through his illegal imprisonment. We hope that this recent update out of Tehran indicates that Pastor Saeed – a U.S. citizen – will  receive just treatment in the coming days and weeks. Most importantly, we hope to see Iranian officials release him so he can return to the  United States where he can make a full recovery in his family’s care.

We continue to work in this country and in the international community to secure Pastor Saeed’s freedom.  And more than 600,000 people around the world now stand in solidarity with Pastor Saeed at SaveSaeed.org.

 

SOURCE: ACLJ

http://aclj.org/iran/american-pastor-saeed-300-illegal-days-iranian-prison 


6 JUNE 2013: Wife of Pastor Saeed to Take Plea to UN

 

The wife of an American pastor imprisoned in Iran for his Christian beliefs delivered an impassioned plea to foreign diplomats gathered in Geneva, begging them to press the Islamic republic to free her husband.

Naghmeh Abedini, whose husband Saeed Abedini is serving an eight-year sentence in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, told members of the United Nations Human Rights Council to join her “in crying out against his persecution.”

“My husband, a U.S. citizen and loving father of our two young children, has been held in Iran's brutal Evin Prison because of his faith -- without a voice to fight for his freedom,” she said in testimony Tuesday morning. “I must, therefore, be his voice.”

Abedini’s backers have for months pressed his case, but hearing it from the 33-year-old Idaho resident's wife and mother of his two children had far greater impact, according to Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents the Abedinis.

“The opportunity for her to share her husband’s story before the United Nations is very significant,” Sekulow told FoxNews.com from Geneva, where he testified on Friday. “They looked her directly in the eyes, heard her pleas and saw her pain. The empathy and compassion of the world could be felt as she delivered her remarks.”

Representatives of member nations as well as non-governmental organizations were on hand.

Abedini has suffered long stints in solitary confinement, and, according to his family and attorneys in Iran, beatings and torture at the hands of his jailers and fellow inmates inside the brutal gulag. For months, he reportedly has been suffering from serious injuries, including internal bleeding from beatings, with no proper medical attention. Experts consider the conditions so extreme that Abedini’s eight-year term is seen as a veritable death sentence.

“Saeed is not guilty of violating any Iranian law; instead, he is being held as a prisoner of conscience because he had exercised his fundamental human rights and converted from Islam to Christianity,” Naghmeh Abedini said. “Please join me in calling for Saeed’s release, not just for my family, but also to spur action to protect human dignity, freedom of expression, and religious tolerance across the globe.”

Abedini left his wife and two young children in Boise, to travel to his homeland last year to visit family and help build a state-run, secular orphanage on family-owned land.  Although he had made many such visits in recent years, this time he was pulled off of a bus in September and taken to prison.

More than a decade ago, Abedini began working as a Christian leader and community organizer developing Iran’s underground home church communities for Christian converts who are forbidden from praying in public churches. He was arrested in 2009, but released after pledging to stop formally organizing house churches in Iran.

After spending months imprisoned without any notice of charges, Abedini was sentenced January 27.

 

SOURCE: FOX News

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/06/04/wife-christian-pastor-imprisoned-in-iran-takes-plea-to-un/